Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Feast


Carrot Feast in the new corral.  Outside temperature- zero, wind 20 mph, wind chill -16 degrees.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Winter Feeder

Today or tomorrow we should finish the new corral for the cows to feed, drink and hang out behind wind breaks when they don't want to be scouring grass from the wind-swept fields.  We poured the base for the frost-free water fountain and the feed troughs and have to finish stacking the 60 foot cottonwood logs around the perimeter.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Past and Present

One pleasant surprise this meat season was to meet the Trim Family.  Turns out that  Mrs. Trim's father George used to fly me around Colombia forty years ago.  They maintain a ranch and cattle in Texas so were glad to find local beef when they got to Alaska.  Yesterday and today we process over 5000 pounds of beef.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fall 2010 Meat

This weekend we set slaughter dates and prices for this year.  The price for the meat will remain the same at $4 a pound on the hanging weight.  The processing will go up 15 cents to $1 a pound.  The total will be $5 a pound on the hanging weight.  We will be soon sending notice by e mail to make sure everyone is confirmed that wants meat this year.  The photo was from my visit a couple of weeks ago to the herd up in Delta Junction.  Pictured are some of the cows with this year's calves in one of the rotational grazing segments with the high moisture, wrapped winter hay in the foreground.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Organic Inspection

Washington State Inspector Les Ecklund inspects one of the fields that is candidate for producing organic hay.  This is a necessary step toward getting organic beef.  It was surprising to learn that cattle can only become organic certified by being born under organic management.  None of the mature animals in the herd today will ever be "organic"!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

New Driveway

Today saw the new driveway into the cows become a reality.  David's new dump truck  hauled a lot of the gravel.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Berry Boss

Meet Chris.  He is in charge of the new raspberries and has done a great job letting the varieties of  raspberries and blue berries get ahead of the grass.

Cothed in White Rainment

If you ever wondered how those round bales got white- now you can see.  We did 152 today in the point field.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

High Moisture Hay/Haylage

As much as I hate plastic I am really pleased with our ability now to put up high quality hay that is preserved and weather proof in the short sunny spells that we get.  Seems the horse market is warming up to the idea here too because of the foot problems that have developed from the high sugar content in our dried hay.  The silage process with the chopped stems properly converts the sugars and eliminates the dust.  Some of the first bales went to the breed bulls before they were let out.  I've noticed all the cattle coming into the winter lot off of green grass  to clean up those first silage bales.  They still smell sweet.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Canadian Cow Comes in With a Heifer

For a week I've known the Canadian cow had her calf but couldn't find it.  Today when we delivered 10 tons of carrots in the newly groomed and seeded winter feed area, she walked in with a large black heifer who was very frisky but easily tired.  She will make a fine addition to the herd with ideal genetics for cross breeding our different lines of whites.  Her mother freshened last year on August 18 so fortunately she is cycling earlier in the summer so her calves have a better start on winter.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

New Identification

After years of working with ear tags that fall out and are very difficult to read at a distance we put large numbers on collars on all the cows and calves.  It will take a while to see if this is better but it for sure makes it easier to see who is who at a distance.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Standing Heat

What happens when four cows are in standing heat at the same time?  I've never seen this before but yesterday I saw four of them lined up waiting to be jumped.  The only one not in heat was the pregnant Canadian at the end of the line.  The entire herd will be very happy to see the bull next week!

Surprise Baby

I had decided that the only calf left was from the Canadian cow.  She had her calf late last year.  But, two days ago this new little bull shows up with mommy.  The fearless little thing walked right up to me.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

First Born Dies

Our very first calf of the season slipped over the cliff at the spring and fell 75 feet to the Matanuska River bed below.  He survived but broke his back leg very high in the thigh.  We donated him to the Buckinghams who put him out of his misery and butchered and hauled him back up the cliff.

We will be putting a fence across that spot.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Adelade the Condo Cow has a Bull

The milk cow had a nice little bull- product of AI and some of the best Guernsey genetics in the States.  He looks pretty spindly compared with the Galloway Beef stock.

Now begins the twice a day milking!

Pot Hole Potatoes

Things are dry this spring so I'm planting out house potatoes in a dry pot hole up by the lake at the new raspberry patch.  We won't have to worry about watering them but may need to float them out in the fall!

Friday, May 21, 2010


Yesterday we activated a vacant piece of land between two hay fields and put in about an acre of berries.  Hopefully they will give us an indication of potential for commercial berry production up here.  We are using a commercial raspberry grown in Alberta and another from the Pacific North West USA.  In all we will know a year from now what is best from four varieties of raspberries and six varieties of blueberries.  They are all being certified organic.  About half the root stalk is being stuck in outdoor nursery status to fill in gaps next year..

Saturday, May 8, 2010

First Black Pair

This little gal was born this morning.  She is getting her first bath from mommy who is one of the three blacks from the Soldatna herd.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Number Ten

The oldest daughter of Arctic Tierra had a little black bull.  Another black calf with two white parents.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Chloe's Line Strikes Again

Chloe's third daughter had her first calf- a bull- with white ears.  She had picked a nice dry bowl with a southern exposure.  They are both well but still in seclusion.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Last April Calf for 2010

One of our black heifers had a heifer with red points.  She was still wet but already nursing when I got there.  She was talking bovine guttural grunts to her daughter about the intruder but she held her ground.  A good mother.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Another Elusive Birth

The second oldest daughter of Chloe had her calf (a bull with black on the inner ears) off in the far corner sometime early Sunday morning.  I had followed her Saturday afternoon and knew she was in that birth walk mode.  By Sunday afternoon she was up with the rest of the cows eating hay and I found the calf under a birch tree where he was born.  Didn't bother him lest he run off and complicate things for mom.  Yesterday, Monday, they were back together but she is still keeping him away from the other cows.  She did a pretty good job of keeping him away from me.  I went around the pasture three times before finding them huddled down beside the extreme east fence.  This cow lost her first calf last year and we never saw it so I'm keeping a close eye this year.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Busy Woodworker

In the process of looking for calves I noticed a woodpecker at work, probably also busy making a place for babies.  The amazing thing was the amount of wood on the ground.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

White + White = Black!

Normal genetics predict that white genetics are dominant.  Normally when a white bull breeds a black cow the calf is white.  One would expect even more to get a white offspring from a white bull and a white cow but here is living proof that recessive genes stay in the gene pool.  Our most skittish cow dropped this little black heifer during an afternoon snow flurry in the farthest corner of the pasture.  I found yesterday's little bull tucked down on a southern slope about a mile from mom who was getting dinner at the hay pile.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Black and White

Probably the most profitable cow in my herd right now is this 900 lb black galloway cow that will wean a 600 lb calf every fall.  This little bull was born the moment the neighbor kids happened to be walking by.

Monday, April 19, 2010

More Snowballs

This little heifer  showed up while I was in Juneau the 17th or 18th.  The morning I left I followed the mom through nearly knee deep snow for over a mile before I found her.  She was obviously looking for a place to give birth.  She is one of those kinds of mothers that will stay away from the rest of the cows for at least a week to bond and give that calf a solitary start.  She obviously has plenty of fat to support that lifestyle.  Unfortunately her calf will probably also inherit the  independent wild spirit of her mother.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Number Three

Last night we had the second highest snowfall for the month of April on record.  Nice weather to welcome a new little heifer to Arctic Tierra the Beta Matriarch of the band.  No cattle I know are better equipped to be born into this kind of an environment.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

2010 Babies are Here!

Imagine the shock of coming from the womb to three inches of snow!  The first calf was a bull with red points.  The second a heifer with dun points daughter of Arctic Chloe the Alpha matriarch.  We will begin feeding them away from the barn site which is beginning to get too sloppy for new calves.

New Generation Farming

The equipment that will transition Wolverine Farm  dry hay to high moisture hay and the first commercial berries is on this load of equipment that came in from Lynden Washington about a month ago.

Monday, January 11, 2010

2009 Meat Season is Finished

Last Friday we finally got everything lined up to preg test the heifers. Dr Holland confirmed that everyone is bred. That is good news for the cows and the meat prospects for next year. The bad news is that those persons who did not get meat this fall will have to wait until next fall. They will be at the top of the list. Thanks to all that were so patient through this process. We got into weather and conditions that just made it impossible to finalize things until now.